Sunday, October 15, 2023

Just Duet.

Dame Joan Sutherland & Marilyn Horne - Vilja Song

We're beginning the countdown to this page's tenth anniversary -- which is, coincidentally, in ten days -- and we're gonna do so with a departure for me.

Full disclosure: I was raised by Met-season-ticket-holding, Lohengrin aria-izing, fully Puccinified opera obsessives. Addicts in need of Bizet 12-step. Both parents, lifelong Bel Canto boffins, through and through.

So before I was 6, I had seen and heard both of the ladies featured in today's concert. More than once. I don't think I ever saw them sing together in person, though.

Apparently this performance here was the very first time they had done a Bel Canto thing together, where it's like Opera à la carte, and the singers perform a sort of greatest hits selection of pieces from different works.

This was (I think?) recorded for WKCR in New York, but might not have ever been broadcast, I'm uncertain. It was apparently purchased, on a reel-to-reel marked "master," at auction on eBay.

For those unfamiliar or unenthusiastic about this kind of music, I'd say this would be the ideal place to start or to revise your opinion.
These two ladies are, perhaps, the greatest female pairing in the operatic universe, and on their own either one could be held up as a Hall-of-Fame example of the very best ever to have done it.

Dame Joan Sutherland is coming up on her centennial, which will be in 2026; she passed away in 2010. Marilyn Horne will be 90 next year and is still going strong.

Anyway this is 72 minutes of bliss, and was taped in Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center in New York, in front of an enraptured audience that reacts to the songs as if they will need to be tranquilized with large darts.

Dame Joan Sutherland & Marilyn Horne
Avery Fisher Hall @ Lincoln Center
New York City, NY USA

01 FM intro
02 Delibes: Viens, Mallika (aka The Flower Duet) from Lakme 
03 FM intro
04 Foster: I Dream of Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair
05 Lehar: Vilja Song from The Merry Widow
06 Saint-Saens: Mon coeur s'ouvre a ta voix from Samson et Dalila
07 Donizetti: Intro to Regnava nel silenzio from Lucia di Lammermoor
08 Donizetti: Regnava nel silenzio from Lucia di Lammermoor
09 Bellini: Norma, Mira o Norma from Norma
10 Rossini: Cruda Sorte from The Italian Girl In Algiers
11 Gounod: O légère hirondelle (The waltz song) from Mireille
12 Rossini: Giorno d'orror e di contento from Semiramide

Total time: 1:11:52

Dame Joan Sutherland - soprano
Marliyn Horne - mezzo-soprano
The New York Philharmonic conducted by Richard Bonynge

"Live from Lincoln Center" FM master reel of indeterminate origin, purchased from an Ebay auction
pitch-corrected by Pervesser Goody in 2017; tape chew at close of Track 09 somewhat smoothed by EN, October 2023
423 MB FLAC/direct link

This was optimized for pitch by Pervesser Goody -- he's the capo di tutti capi for that stuff in the ROIO community worldwide -- and I didn't do a thing to it otherwise other than repair, somewhat, the little tape flub at the very end of one of the tunes.

I even left the track markers as I found them, janky announcer and all.

I'll be around for the 2nd half of October, will all sorts of wild stuff, as we commemorate 10 years (!!!) of me being either foolish or audiophilic enough (both? I hope it's at least both) to be doing this.

Don't worry though. This post is just a happy aberration and The Fat Lady isn't singing just yet. Although, dare I say, you'll find no more exquisite example of two gargantuan voices in full sympathy than this tape right here!--J.

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